In this post: These fall pumpkin trifles are made in perfect single-portion sizes, making them a delicious finish to any fall meal – especially Thanksgiving dinner!


Fall is known as pumpkin spice season, which means loads of pumpkin-filled, perfectly-spiced treats. As one of those treats, these pumpkin trifles are a sweet finale to any fall get-together. Plus, any dessert made in a mason jar is just plain fun! Learn to make these pumpkin cupcake mason jar trifles with the step-by-step instructions below.

Layered pumpkin trifle in a single-serving mason jar.

What is Trifle?

A trifle is a cold dessert that comes from England. It usually includes layers of sponge cake, fruit, jelly, and cream. Trifles are commonly served in a large, round, glass dish (so you can see all the carefully placed layers!). They are commonly enjoyed around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What is a Pumpkin Trifle?

A pumpkin trifle is a trifle that includes pumpkin puree and fall spices along with cake and whipped cream. It’s the ultimate fall-themed dessert. Even better, this recipe for pumpkin trifles is divided into single-serving mason jars! 

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This pumpkin trifle recipe:

  • is quick and easy to make
  • doesn’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients
  • is adaptable to any dietary restrictions or allergies (see below for ideas)
Pumpkin mason jar trifle with whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Trifle Ingredients

For the pumpkin cupcakes

  • White cake mix: use gluten-free if desired.
  • Granulated sugar: add sweetness and moisture.
  • Canned pumpkin: be sure to buy 100% pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Vegetable oil: corn oil, soybean oil, and grape seed oils are common vegetable oils.
  • Egg whites: Add volume and make a fluffier cake than when you use whole eggs.
  • Cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves: alternatively, you can use a pumpkin spice seasoning mix.

For the layered filling

  • Cream cheese: or non-dairy cream cheese substitute; room temperature.
  • Powdered sugar: dissolves easier and gives a smoother texture to the filling than granulated sugar.
  • Heavy cream: or coconut cream if you don’t eat dairy.
  • Vanilla extract: adds just a touch of vanilla flavor.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Cake mix – use whatever flavor and diet (gluten-free, keto, etc.) version of cake mix you want. 
  • Vegetable oil – the best substitute for vegetable oil (other than another kind of vegetable oil) is butter.
  • Egg whites – try substitutes like aquafaba, ground flax seed eggs, apple puree, etc.
  • Extra toppings – whipped cream, nuts (pecans, peanuts, walnuts, etc.), caramel sauce, cookie or cake crumbs, butterscotch chips, or anything that suits your fancy!
  • Extra layers – add an extra layer of chocolate chip cookies, biscoff cookies, custard, or vanilla pudding.

How to Make Pumpkin Trifles

Making these pretty little desserts is not hard because the cupcakes can be made from boxed cake mix. You can even make them gluten-free just by using a gluten-free boxed cake mix!

To make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the cake mix, granulated sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg whites, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves with a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds (until mixed).Pumpkin cupcake ingredients in bowl.Pumpkin cupcake ingredients mixed in a bowl.
  3. Spray 24 muffin tins with cooking spray or line them with cupcake liners.
  4. Fill each muffin cup slightly more than half full with the pumpkin mixture. Any more than half and they’ll overflow when baking.Pumpkin cupcakes in muffin tins before they're baked.
  5. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely.

For the layered filling

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and 2 cups of powdered sugar.Powdered sugar in a bowl with the cream cheese about to be mixed.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix well.Mixing the heavy cream and vanilla extract into the cream cheese and sugar.
  3. Continue mixing and add in the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.

Assembly of each dessert jar

  1. In small mason jars or dessert dishes, place a pumpkin cupcake at the bottom (or use half of a cupcake if your dishes/jars are small).
  2. Top with roughly ¼ cup cream cheese icing.
  3. Top that with another cupcake (or half cupcake).
  4. Then top the whole thing with the optional toppings like whipped cream, cookies, walnuts, and caramel sauce.
  5. Repeat for each pumpkin cupcake mason jar trifle.
Pumpkin mason jar trifle stacked high with whipped cream and caramel syrup.

Serving Suggestions

This pumpkin trifle is the perfect dessert to follow delicious entrees like:

Recipe Tips

  • Try layering your single-serving pumpkin trifles in glass/clear dishes just like you would with a regular-sized trifle. This way you’ll be able to see all the beautiful layers you worked so hard on!
  • If you want to make this recipe even easier, you can buy pumpkin cupcakes from the grocery store and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Your cream cheese should be at room temperature when you cream it so it mixes smoothly.

Storage and Making Ahead

You can make this recipe 24 hours beforehand if you store the cupcakes and cream cheese filling in separate air-tight containers in the fridge. You should layer the trifles within a couple of hours of eating them. If you have assembled leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for a few days, but they may become a little mushy.

Dietary Considerations

You can make one or more of these adjustments based on your dietary requirements.

  • Gluten-free: switch the white cake mix out for a gluten-free cake mix.
  • Dairy-free: use non-dairy cream cheese substitute and coconut cream in the layered filling. Use a non-dairy whipped cream substitute on top.
  • Vegan: Follow the instructions in the “dairy-free” section above. In addition, substitute the egg whites for aquafaba, ground flax seeds eggs, apple puree, or any other egg white substitute.
Top view of a pumpkin trifle with whipped cream and cookie crumbs.

FAQs

What other trifles can I make?

There are a bunch of varieties of trifles out there! You can make a chocolate trifle, lemon-blueberry trifle, red velvet trifle, caramel brownie trifle, candy cane chocolate trifle, berry trifle, or just about anything you can think to layer!

What’s the best way to layer a pumpkin trifle?

Trifles are pretty forgiving but I’ll include a few layering tips just in case you need them! First, start with a layer of cake/cupcakes. This will keep the truffle stable. Second, make sure your layers are not too thin or too thick; find the perfect texture ratio (even if you have to use more or less than a whole cupcake!). Finally, leave enough room in the jar for whipped cream and other toppings!

Is it possible to freeze the pumpkin trifle?

I wouldn’t try to freeze a pumpkin trifle that’s already layered, but you can freeze the cupcake and cream cheese filling in separate airtight containers.

Pumpkin Trifles

Pumpkin Trifles

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 21 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes
These pumpkin trifles are made in perfect single-portion sizes, making them a scrumptious finish to any fall meal. 

Ingredients

For the pumpkin cupcakes:

  • 1 16.5 ounce white cake mix (use gluten free if desired)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

For the layered filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese substitute, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream or coconut cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Optional toppings:

  • whipped topping
  • walnuts
  • caramel sauce

Instructions

    To make the cupcakes:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Beat the cake mix, granulated sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg whites, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves with a stand mixer or hand mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds (until mixed).
    3. Spray 24 muffin tins with cooking spray or line them with cupcake liners.
    4. Fill each muffin cup slightly more than half full with the pumpkin mixture. Any more than half and they’ll overflow when baking.
    5. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
    6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely.

    For the layered filling:

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and 2 cups of powdered sugar.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Continue mixing and add in the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.

Assembly of each dessert jar:

  1. In small mason jars or dessert dishes, place a pumpkin cupcake at the bottom (or use half of a cupcake if your dishes/jars are small).
  2. Top with roughly ¼ cup cream cheese icing.
  3. Top that with another cupcake (or half cupcake).
  4. Then top the whole thing with the optional toppings like whipped cream, cookies, walnuts, and caramel sauce.
  5. Repeat for each pumpkin cupcake mason jar trifle.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 562Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 2gSugar: 65gProtein: 6g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.

Did you make this recipe?

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Have you made trifles before? What about mini mason jar trifles?